Hullo. Happy new annum and welcome back to the bloggy blog blog for the weekly playlist on no-ones lips, ‘Nobody’s Listening’. I trust you are all well and eager to hear this weeks aural splendours. We’ve a lot to get through including a twenty minute jazz odyssey, so shall we get going? Yeah? Good.
Track 1. Flying Into Tokyo by Magnetic man.
I’ll admit, I was surprised to find out Magnetic man were a dupstep collective when I first heard this gorgeous string soaked piece which opened their debut LP from 2010. It’s atypical to most of their output eschewing heavy bass for a more atmospheric approach. I’ve chosen it to open this weeks playlist as it reminds me of this time of year, cold winds and numb hands.
Track 2. Kickin’ by Kickin’ Mustangs.
Early funk number from Ohio. Bit of an anomaly this as it was released on the Plato label, better known for their garage releases in the mid to late 60’s. Two minutes of gettin’ off yo ass.
Track 3. Ornella by Swim Mountain.
London four piece Swim Mountain are obviously influenced by the current wave of American psych, Ariel Pink and Unknown Mortal Orchestra are just two of the names I can hear in this track. Having said that, they do have a voice of their own. I particularly like how this track morphs into a kind of polite English disco piece by the bit where the middle eight should be. This is from their debut EP. I shall be following where they go from here with keen ears..
Track 4. I Wouldn’t Be Surprised by Bobbie Gentry.
I wonder who Bobbie Gentry would be today if she hadn’t retired in 1978. Out of the public eye for nearly 40 years, i’m sure she would have a Vashti Bunyan type rapturous welcome if she decided to start making music again. A great loss, but I’m sure she had her reasons. This is the opener of side 2 on her 1969 LP ‘Touch ‘Em With Love’ and is a laid back lament which showcases her understated, sweet approach to full effect. The backing vocal in particular is a joy.
Track 5. So Says I by The Shins.
James Mercer released Three near perfect LP’s with The Shins, (Port of Morrow, their last to date is a bit patchy IMO, suffering from the loss of the newly sacked band) This, from their sophomore effort ‘Chutes Too Narrow’ references life under communist and capitalist systems, and is usually a set closer at their live shows. Not that i’d know from personal experience, I’ve been desperate to see them for 10 years, and the one time I had the chance to see them, they cancelled the tour. One day…
Track 6. Wolfman Jack by Todd Rundgren.
I recently saw the excellent Ezra Furman live, and, all the way through the gig it was a spot the influence kind of night. It wasn’t until a few weeks later when I was listening to Rundgren’s ‘Something/Anything’ that I realised he owes a big debt to the wizard, and this tribute to the titular DJ in particular. The same insistent Sax and handclaps are evident throughout Furman’s work, and that is by no means a bad thing.
Track 7. Sun Coming Down by Ought.
I know nothing of this band but this cut had some airplay on 6 music before Christmas and it always made me sit up and listen with it’s nasal Howard Devoto-esque vocal which also has echoes of early Mark E Smith on the ‘chorus’, and its choppy post punk guitars. It could have easily been recorded in 1979 . I’ll definitely be investigating further..
Track 8. The Sun Roars Into View by Sarah Neufeld, Colin Stetson.
Visceral stuff, this. Not for everyone, granted, but if you can turn off your lights, lay back, and lose yourself in this 7 and a half minute duel between Saxophone and violin you will be rewarded.
Track 9. Kick Out The Jams by MC5.
Right, after that, and before we embark on the aforementioned Jazz Odyssey, let’s have some balls out Rawk to shake the rafters and damage the floorboards with three fist pumpers. I don’t really need to add anything to this track, suffice to say, if you have never had it in your life, I pity you. Essential.
Track 10. Satellites by Parts & Labor.
In my last band, The Cylinder Opens, every Tuesday night was practice/jam night and we’d gather in Jims attic bedroom to ply our close harmony trade. In-between constructing these mini acoustic masterworks we’d play each other tracks that we thought the others might dig and hope they might rub off on our musical endeavours. I remember this track in particular as a stand out from those days, the way it builds into an orgy of voices and loud guitars is a sound to behold. I still love it today even though it was an obvious high water mark for Parts & Labor (Their American spelling, not mine).
Track 11. Dancing Light by Grumbling Fur.
If you use the cross fade feature on Spotify, the segue from the previous track to this is amazing. All happy accident of course, I don’t really put these playlists in any given order, they’re more thrown together. But yeah, to the uninitiated it’s quite hard to discern where this starts and the previous track ends. I like it when that happens.
Track 12. Hajj by Abdullah Ibrahim.
Ok. Strap yourselves in. Now, I know Jazz fusion isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but give it a go. This, from South Africa’s Ibrahim is from his 1978 LP Hajj (Journey) and what a Journey. 20 minutes of exploration from Africa via Asia and a firm foot in US Bop. Just go with it, you never know you might find something you like, and isn’t that what Journeys (or Hajj’s) are all about?
Track 13. Forever by Mercy.
Still with us? Let’s ease back in with this piece of gorgeousness from 1969. I can’t recall when or where I first heard this lovely close harmony track. I will say it is made for those moments when you just need to close your eyes and feel enveloped by a warm fuzzy aural blanket.
Track 14. Dear John by Loney, Dear.
Sweden’s Emil Svanangen has been quietly crafting pop masterpieces for over 12 years now. This, the title track from his sixth LP is a perfect example of his skill with a melody. I saw him at Leeds Brudenell in front of a largely unappreciative audience (WHY GO TO A GIG AND TALK ALL THE WAY THROUGH YOU FUCKING IMBECILES!) but he cut through all that with a fantastic performance. I had a chat with him afterwards and he seemed a bit distant, although he does put a lot in to his performances and was visibiy knackered. And probably couldn’t understand my pissed up North East accent..
Track 15. Carry That Weight by Carmen McRae.
Beatles cover from ‘The Singers Singer’. It’s always nice to hear different interpretations of The Wackers’ work, especially when they’re done by vocalists who could ‘Sing The Phone book’. McRae is in fine form here, her silky, behind the beat voice adding depth to McCartney’s throwaway piece from Abbey Road.
Track 16. Peroration Six by Floating Points.
Woah, my new favourite band, Sam Shepherd’s Floating Points is the first great thing I have heard in 2016. This is the closer from his debut LP released late last year and it’s wonderful. A guitar that sneaks up on you and funky drummer undercut by impending synths build to a crescendo until it all abruptly halts. As for the rest of the LP, unexpected strings here, Fender Rhodes warmth there, all covered over with delicious bleeps and bloops. I’m off to see him next month, excited.
Track 17. This Is What She’s Like by Dexy’s Midnight Runners.
Kevin Rowland’s magnum opus. I often think if I could only listen to one song for the rest of my days it might be this, it’s got everything. ‘I would like to express myself at this point…’
Track 18. Home by LCD Soundsystem.
Best news of the week is that James Murphy is rebooting LCD Soundsytem after five years. He came in for a lot of flack from fans who attended their farewell show at Madison Square Garden and issued a sort of apology. Do you know what I say? Fuck ’em. I’m over the moon he’s back.
Track 19. I Like it by The Emotions.
Sampled by Ol’ Dirty Bastard, This is a beauty from the ‘Best Of My Love’ girls, soft vocals that drip honey, fatback drums and a punchy bass add up to a sumptuous soul smoothie that you crave more of.
Track 20. Am I ever Gonna See My Baby Again by The Sweet Inspirations.
This weeks Soul Slowie closer comes from Atlantic recording artists The Sweet Inspirations. led by Cissy Houston, Whitney’s ma.
That’s yer lot for this week. Hope you enjoyed all of it. or some of it. Worrever.
’til next time.